Sunday, December 08, 2019

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

"Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38).

Monday of the 2nd week of Advent is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (Moved from Sunday December 8th). What is the Immaculate Conception?

"To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role." The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace". In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace." (CCC 490).

In other words, the Immaculate Conception is the special Gift God bestowed on Mary for her Mission.
Mission = Mother of the Redeemer.
Enabling gift is her sinlessness from the moment of conception.

I experienced my annunciation moment when I returned to the practice of the faith after 20 years of AWOL. God used my brokenness and placed me in a desert for a considerable time. One evening, I broke out in desperate prayer addressed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The response to that prayer is unforgettable:
"ALL you need is the Holy Spirit." I went searching to find out what is the Holy Spirit. Many years after the blessed elocution, I came to understand what my response will always be: "Lord, let ALL that I need be always the Holy Spirit."

Do you believe that God can speak to you through a silent inner voice, through Sacred Scriptures, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in the Mass, through a human being?

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women." (Luke 1: 28)."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Second Week of Advent - A Kairos of Grace.


"The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord." (Isaiah 11: 2 - 3).

Second Sunday of Advent. The Prophet Isaiah prophesying some 700 years before the Birth of Jesus gives us the sharpest profile of the Messiah. In this profile, we see that the Son of Man and Son of Mary will be Son of God.

What the Church teaches as the Seven Gifts and 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit are attributes of God.

Fathers of the Church have taught for centuries that Jesus Christ became Man so that we humans may become gods. We become gods through the transformative work of the Holy Spirit. A transformation that starts in our Baptism. The Church's liturgical cycle provides some key growth points in this Journey of Faith. Lent and Advent are the principal seasons of the liturgical year.

"Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you."  (Isaiah 49: 8).

Faith is accepting the word of God as true.  Then act according to the the word you believe.

Advent is Now. A Time (Kairos) of divine favor.

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Friday, December 06, 2019

Feast of St Ambrose of Milan.


"Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus: Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10: 5, 6 - 7).

Saturday of the 1st week of Advent is the feast of St Ambrose (340 - 397), Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St Ambrose was still unbaptized and mayor of the imperial city of Milan when he was elected the Bishop of Milan. Aided by the Holy Spirit, Ambrose quickly rose to the challenges of his calling. God gave him the courage of an apostle and made him an outstanding teacher in the Church. He was famous for his care of the poor and his apostolic zeal and opposition to the Arian heresy which was the scourge of the Church in the 4th and 5th century. St Ambrose converted and baptized St Augustine.

The Twelve Apostles sent out to mission by Jesus in our Gospel of today has a worthy successor in St Ambrose. Why are the saints a critical part of our Christian heritage?

#1 Honoring the saints glorifies Jesus, the Prince of all the saints.
#2 How do we know that Christianity is true? Because of the lives of the saints. The saints modeled the life of Jesus Christ and many of them laid down their lives to defend the truth of the Faith.

"Lead us, who have been strengthened by the power of this Sacrament, O Lord, so to profit from the teaching of Saint Ambrose that, hastening fearlessly along your paths, we may be prepared for the delights of the eternal banquet.
Through Christ our Lord." (Prayer after Communion, feast of St Ambrose).

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Thursday, December 05, 2019

Do you believe that I can do this?


“Son of David, have pity on us!” When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him." (Matthew 9: 27 - 28).

Friday of the 1st week of Advent is the First Friday in December and the feast of St Nicholas (4th century). St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra in present day Turkey. He was at the Council of Nicaea and signed the famous document, the Nicene Creed. His deep concern for the poor and needy netted him the title of Santa Claus throughout the centuries.

In our Scripture verse for today, Jesus asks a point blank question: “Do you believe that I can do this?” When you come to Jesus for intervention in your health, family issues, job, money, tools and possessions, do you come with expectant faith? Or is your attitude: If Jesus does not provide the health or money quickly, I will go to my expert doctor or my bank manager.

Brethren, read the dialog below. Believe what you read. Practice what you believe.
“Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” (Matthew 9 : 28 - 29).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday, December 6, 2019.


December 6th, 2019  -  First Friday in December.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 12th and last month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #12.

#12. "The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour."

Friends, this is a tremendous promise. Let us thank our Lord Jesus Christ for such a generous offer. You will appreciate this promise when you are close to death. No fear. No worry. No doubt about your eternal destiny.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Have you ever trusted the Lord in health and in sickness?

"Trust in the Lord for ever,
for the Lord is the everlasting Rock." (Isaiah 26: 4).

Thursday of the 1st week of Advent. What a powerful Scripture we have today for our Advent 2019 Journey of Faith.

Trust in the Lord forever!
Do you trust in the Lord forever?
Have you ever trusted in the Lord forever?
In sickness and in health?
In poverty and riches?
In full stomach and empty stomach?
In popularity and loneliness?

The reason why you must trust in the Lord forever is because "the Lord is an eternal Rock."
God never fails.
He never disappoints.
He never delays.
The Lord is ever faithful (semper fidelis).


Faithfulness is said to be the very essence of God. When I did a word study on Faithfulness, I found it is one of the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit. I found this on Faithfulness from the dictionary:

"True, devoted, staunch.
Faithful, constant, loyal imply qualities of stability, dependability, and devotion. Faithful implies long-continued and steadfast fidelity to whatever one is bound to by a pledge, duty, or obligation: a faithful friend."

I liked what I read. With this in mind, I reread one of my favorite Bible verse with the word "faithfulness".

"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3: 22 - 23 NIV).

In another version:
"The Lord’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent;
They are renewed each morning—great is your faithfulness!"
(Lamentations 3: 22 - 23 NABRE).

I decided that I can trust in the Lord forever. I will take the Lord as my eternal Rock! I will be like a wise man who built his house on rock!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Have you tried to imagine Heaven?


"On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines." (Isaiah 25: 6).

Wednesday in the 1st week of Advent is the feast of St John Damascene (675 - 749) priest, religious, Doctor of the Church. Before his ordination to the priesthood in 726, he was finance minister to the Caliph.  His work of life was mostly study and writing where he produced books in dogmatic theology. But his defense of the use of images is his striking contribution to the history of the development of theology. Without John Damascene, we may not be able to use these images in worship or in our devotions: Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy, Mary and the Saints. Thank you St John Damascene.

When we celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King, we reflected on the nature of the Kingdom that Jesus Christ came to establish.
We noted the core themes of His Kingship. Now let us recall the key attributes of the Son of Man from Daniel 7:

#1 Dominion and kingship
#2 Splendor
#3 Everlasting /eternal
#4 Indestructible
#5 Universal

Daniel saw clearly in the vision of the night Jesus Christ and the Kingdom He established through His death on the Cross.

Today, we are served the vision of Isaiah of the Kingdom, the New Earth. Isaiah calls it: "The Mountain." Consider some of the characteristics:

#1 Great Banquet
#2 No death. No tears.
#3 No sin. No reproaches.
#4 Universal reconciliation.

When you put together a composite of these visions, a very striking picture of the King and the Kingdom begin to emerge. Paul writes that no eye has seen, nor ear heard nor has it ever entered into the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love Him. The Sacred Scriptures give a tiny glimpse of that future.

Today's Gospel from Matthew 15 is a prefiguration of what will happen "on this Mountain."
"They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets full." (Matthew 15: 37). Abundance and generosity of God will be in full display.

I am very excited. How about you?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, December 02, 2019

Feast of St Francis Xavier, Model of Missionary Zeal!


“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16: 15 - 16).

Tuesday of the 1st week of Advent is the feast of St Francis Xavier (1506 - 1552), priest and missionary. "Born in Navarre, Spain, he studied in Paris where he became a follower of St Ignatius Loyola. He was one of the first seven members of the Society of Jesus. Francis tirelessly proclaimed the Gospel in India, China and Japan bringing over 30,000 souls to Christ." (Roman Missal).

Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. This is exactly what St Francis Xavier did. This endeavor earned him the recognition as one of the greatest missionaries after St Paul. He is the co-patron of the Missions.

The world has changed greatly since the days of St Paul and of our St Francis Xavier who was born in the 16th century. Then, not everyone could participate in evangelization. Today, because of the wide availability of technology, everyone can distribute and share the word even if you can not create content. A good part of the work I do in evangelization is sharing and distributing content created by other people. I use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.
To be able to do this effectively, one needs the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit and Prayer. There is so much fake content in the cyber world. "Buyer Beware!"

"Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature." Most of us should be able to keep this sacred mandate.

St Francis Xavier pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Lord I believe Your one word can heal me.


“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed." (Matthew 8: 8).

Monday of the 1st week of Advent. Our daily Scripture verse today will be familiar to many people. Have you ever paused to wonder what it means and why we say it before Holy Communion?

When Jesus offered to visit the Roman centurion and heal his sick servant, the centurion said: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed." We know the rest of the story.

The universal Church puts on our mouth the centurion's inspired words just before we receive Jesus in Holy Communion. Imagine the dialog:
Jesus: "I am eager to come into your heart and bless you deeply."
You: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and I will be healed."

Do you truly believe what you receive in the Eucharist? If you do not believe, your words are ineffectual. But if you believe, this could be your moment of miracle.

Won't you like to hear this sweet music? "And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour [his] servant was healed." (Matthew 8: 13).

Do not waste the opportunity of a miracle during Holy Communion.
"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4: 16).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Advent - A Season of Joy and Expectations Begins!


"Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come." (Matthew 24: 42).

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. Advent is the Season when the Church prepares for the memorial of the first Coming of Jesus as a little child in Bethlehem. This remembrance causes us to anticipate His second Coming as Lord and Judge. "Advent is thus a period of devout and joyful expectation."

The purpose of Advent devotions is to cause us to increase our longing for Jesus. The second Reading encourages us to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh." (Romans 13: 14).

Praying more and the study of Holy Scriptures are good ways to be expectant and vigilant.

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Friday, November 29, 2019

The Feast of St Andrew the Apostle.

"Beside the Sea of Galilee, the Lord saw two brothers, Peter and Andrew, and he said to them: Come after me and I will make you fishers of men." (Cf: Matthew 4: 18 - 19).

Saturday of the 34th week in Ordinary Time. The Liturgical Year ends today with the feast of St Andrew the Apostle. Who is St Andrew? Brother of St Peter and the first Apostle to be called by Jesus. He introduced Peter to Jesus. Preached the Gospel in Greece where he was crucified on an X-Shaped cross. St Andrew is the patron saint of Russia and Scotland. 

Two things struck me in the Call of St Andrew:

#1 "And they [he & his brother Simon] left their nets at once and followed him."
AT ONCE: No delay. No hesitation. 

#2 "Andrew told his brother Simon:
We have found the Messiah, the Christ, and he brought him to Jesus." (Cf John 1: 41- 42).
When you have SOMETHING really good to share, who is the first on the list? 

Jesus Christ is glorified when we honor His saints. The Liturgy on this feast of St Andrew brings out this marvelous truth of the Communion of the Saints:

#1 "We humbly implore your majesty, O Lord, that, just as the blessed Apostle Andrew was for your Church a preacher and pastor, so he may be for us a constant intercessor before you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.... " (Collect). 

#2 "May communion in your Sacrament strengthen us, O Lord,
so that by the example of the blessed Apostle Andrew we, who carry in our body the Death of Christ, may merit to live with him in glory.Who lives and reigns for ever and ever." (Prayer After Communion).
Use the power of example/biography to climb the ladder of holiness. If she does it, so can I. 

#3 "SOLEMN BLESSING: MASS OF THE APOSTLES:

May God, who has granted you
to stand firm on apostolic foundations, graciously bless you through the glorious merits
of the holy Apostle Andrew.
R. Amen.

And may he who endowed you
with the teaching and example of the Apostles, make you, under their protection,witnesses to the truth before all.
R. Amen.

So that through the intercession of the Apostles, you may inherit the eternal homeland, for by their teaching you possess firmness of faith.
R. Amen.

And may the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit,come down on you and remain with you for ever.
R. Amen."
 (https://www.catholicdoors.com/prayers/prefaces.htm). 

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Son of Man is the King of Kings.


"I saw coming with the clouds of heaven One like a son of man.
When he reached the Ancient of Days and was presented before him, He received dominion, splendor, and kingship; all nations, peoples and tongues will serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7: 13 - 14).

Friday of the 34th week in Ordinary Time. The Prophet Daniel gives us an astonishing vision of the Son of Man.

Why does our Scripture for today point to the King and the Kingdom to come? Remember last Sunday, we celebrated the Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King of the Universe? We noted the core themes of His Kingship. Now let us look at the key attributes of the Son of Man from Daniel 7:

#1 Dominion and kingship
#2 Splendor
#3 Everlasting /eternal
#4 Indestructible
#5 Universal

Daniel saw clearly in vision of the night Jesus Christ and the Kingdom He established through His death on the Cross. The seed of that Kingdom exists today in His Church. That Kingdom is unfolding bit by bit as the Church grows every day in charity, faith and hope.

Are you inside the Kingdom or are you outside? You are either for Me or you are against Me. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

His heart is full of joy and gladness because he served the Lord with constancy.


“May your God, whom you serve so constantly, save you.” (Daniel 6: 17).

Thursday of the 34th week in Ordinary Time is Thanksgiving Day in America.

Daniel was accused of breaking the law because he prayed to his God. As a punishment, King Darius had Daniel thrown into the Lion's Den. But Daniel was too valuable for King Darius to lose. He knew palace intrigues got him into the Lion's Den. . Knowing how faithful Daniel has served his God, Darius prayed: “May your God, whom you serve so constantly, save you.”

Have you served your God constantly? Any evidence? If you serve the Lord with constancy, your heart will be filled with constant gladness and lasting happiness, the Church teaches through her Collect Prayer.

On Thanksgiving Day, let us lift our hearts and minds to God:
"Father all-powerful, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite; as we come before you on Thanksgiving Day with gratitude for your kindness, open our hearts to have concern for every man, woman, and child, so that we may share your gifts in loving service.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Collect, Thanksgiving Mass).

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Spirit of Jesus Christ delivered me from the spirit of addiction.


"Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar ordered the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar, his father,had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, to be brought in so that the king, his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines might drink from them." (Daniel 5: 2).

Wednesday of the 34th week in Ordinary Time. Tomorrow, Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in America. Is it a coincidence that the Sacred Scriptures is inviting us to reflect on the theme of "Under the Influence."

That America is under the curse of addiction, no honest person will deny. This is the downside of being the richest country in human history. Under the influence of alcohol, Belshazzar desecrated sacred vessels reserved for worship in the Temple of the Lord and committed sacrilege. Both are grievous abominations that are punished swiftly. Recall that under the influence of alcohol, King Herod chopped off the head of John the Baptist.

Here in America, alcohol is one of the long list of our addictions, others are prescription drugs, pornography, TV, etc. There is also a curious addiction to activity which saps energy and mental health because the addict is endlessly moving here and there seeking something to engage himself.

There is good news about many addictions. Sacred Scripture identifies the source of addictions as "sarx", flesh:
"Live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.  But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law." The word of God becomes specific:

"Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions,  occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like."  (Galatians 5: 19 - 21).
All the above may be demonic influences.

But if you are guided by the Spirit, you will never be under any kind of influence. The Spirit of Jesus Christ set me free from my own addictions. Now, that I am free, I guard my freedom jealously with the grace of God.

"Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2: 10).

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Monday, November 25, 2019

All the kingdoms of this world are passing away.


“All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” (Luke 21: 6).

Tuesday of the 34th week in Ordinary Time. We are in the last week in Ordinary Time. The theme of the first Reading and the Gospel centers on the end of the ages.

If the numerous prophecies in the Scriptures do not convince us of the inevitability of the end of all things as we know them, let history convince us. Kingdom after kingdom has risen and fallen. Empire after empire has fallen into the dust heap of history. Where is the Third Reich that Hitler boasted will last a thousand years? It lasted only 12 years.

Last Sunday, we celebrated the Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King of the Universe. His kingdom will be glorious, full of splendor and everlasting. Daniel prophesied in the first Reading:
"In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people." (Daniel 2: 44).

Instead of constantly chasing after a kingdom doomed to destruction, make your top priority God's kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from Jesus, not only will you live in peace but everything you need will be given to you abundantly.

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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Is this widow seeking first the kingdom of God?


"As Jesus looked up, he saw rich people putting their offerings into the treasury; then he happened to notice a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins, and he said, ‘I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in more than any of them; for these have all contributed money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in all she had to live on." (Luke 21: 1-4).

Monday of the 34th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Catherine of Alexandria (+310), Virgin and Martyr. "According to tradition, St Catherine was a woman remarkable for her courage and learning." She was martyred under Emperor Maxentius for converting his wife and 200 soldiers. Why do we honor the saints? Because Christ Jesus is glorified in His saints when we honor them.

Why is the Widow's Mite such a powerful story?

++ God does not see people, events and situations as we see them. 

#1 It is not a parable but an eye witness account of what Jesus observed in the Temple. 

#2 The widow came to the Temple with 2 pennies, her last card and put it all in the collection basket.

#3 Jesus watched her do it.

#4 The enduring lesson of the widow's example: All we are and own come from God. We can never outdo God in generosity.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6: 33 NLT).

"Behold, I am with you always,

even to the end of the age, says the Lord." (Matthew 28: 20). 

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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Solemnity of Christ the King.


“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”  Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” (Luke 23: 37 - 38).

Sunday of the 34th week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of Christ the King. Today marks the end of this Liturgical Year.

We hear that Christ reigns from the Cross. What does this mean? On the last confrontation with the Jewish authorities inside the Temple, "Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." (John 2: 19).  Jesus was referring to the Temple of His body as representing the old law and dispensation. That Temple was destroyed on the Cross. The veil of the Temple was torn in half at the death of Jesus and the entire Temple destroyed 70 years later. And from the Cross emerged not a Temple but a Kingdom. The seed of that Kingdom exists in the Church. Now let's see what the Church says:

"Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover. Until everything is subject to him, "until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God." That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ's return by saying to him: Marana tha! "Our Lord, come!" (CCC 671).

"The Lord sits as King for ever.
The Lord will bless his people with peace." (Psalm 28: 10 - 11).

Jesus, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.

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Friday, November 22, 2019

You will be like angels.


"Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise." (Luke 20: 34 - 36).

Saturday of the 33rd week in Ordinary Time. The Gospel of today addresses a very important curiosity about the end times and the last things. What is heaven like? Will my husband recognize me? Will my family be together? How about my pets?

Last Sunday, we discussed Heaven and Hell in our RCIA class. It soon became evident how hard it is to imagine the other world. Jesus strikes a familiar New Testament theme about Heaven when He says:
"They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise."

It is going to be everlasting life for those who are chosen. I like very much what Jesus says about the chosen being like angels. The promise of Heaven and eternity becomes even sweeter in this promise:
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2: 9).

Let these promises fill your hearts with peace and joy and comfort one another with these holy thoughts.

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Feast of St Cecilia, Patron saint of musicians.


"On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had desecrated it [Temple], on that very day it was rededicated with songs, harps, lyres, and cymbals.  All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven, who had given them success." (1 Maccabees 4: 54 - 55).

Friday of the 33rd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Cecilia (+ 3rd century) Virgin and Martyr. St Cecilia is the patron saint of music and musicians. Her name is mentioned in the Roman Canon. Music plays a central role in the worship and liturgy of the Church. St Augustine says that to sing is to pray twice.

Our first Reading from  1 Maccabees is a fitting Scripture to celebrate the feast of St Cecilia. The Maccabees reconsecrated the desecrated Temple on the 25th day of Chislev "with songs, harps, lyres, and cymbals."

At the heart of religion is worship. At the heart of worship is praise and thanksgiving. God loves music. It has been my great joy to listen to about 20 minutes of music every morning. This gift of music makes my day. I thank God for this wonderful blessing.
Let us lift up musicians and artists today in our prayers.

St Cecilia pray for us.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

We will not obey the wicked orders of the king.


"But Mattathias answered in a loud voice: “Although all the Gentiles in the king’s realm obey him, so that they forsake the religion of their ancestors and consent to the king’s orders,  yet I and my sons and my kindred will keep to the covenant of our ancestors.  Heaven forbid that we should forsake the law and the commandments." (1 Maccabees 2: 19 - 21).

Thursday of the 33rd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Presentation of the three year old Virgin Mary in the Temple. Here is what the Church says about this feast:
"The Church preserves the early tradition that as a small child, Mary was presented to the Lord by her parents in the Temple. This celebration calls our attention to the total dedication of Mary to God's service and her obedience to God's plan. We, too, are called to serve God joyfully and without seeking any human glory in return." (Roman Missal).

In our key Scripture today from 1 Maccabees, Mattathias stood his ground and declared: "I and my sons and my kindred will keep to the covenant of our ancestors.  Heaven forbid that we should forsake the law and the commandments." Do you see that such a stance means death sentence for the person. This statement is not made lightly.
Remember Eleazar, the 90 year old man who was bludgeoned to death for refusing to eat meat forbidden by the law? Scripture says that Eleazar made up his mind ahead of time on what to do in such a situation. (Cf 2 Maccabees 6: 23).

In a similar cross road in the early history of Israel, Joshua declared:
"If you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24: 15). Joshua had decided that come what may, he would serve the Lord.

"Offer praise as your sacrifice to God; fulfill your vows to the Most High. Then call on me on the day of distress; I will rescue you, and you shall honor me.” (Psalm 50: 14 - 15).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Martyrdom of a mother and her 7 sons.


"Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother who, seeing her seven sons perish in a single day, bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord." (2 Maccabees 7: 20).

Wednesday of the 33rd week in Ordinary Time. Our first Reading is the incredible story of how a strong and holy mother watched her seven sons martyred one after the other rather than submit to the profanation of their faith. She died last. What are some of the lessons of this incredible story?

"Do not be afraid of this executioner, but be worthy of your brothers and accept death, so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with your brothers.” (2 Maccabees 7: 29).

In the words of Jesus:
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10: 28).

This most admirable mother who birthed her seven sons into heaven is type and shadow of the Blessed Virgin Mary who walked the way of the Cross with her Son Jesus and stood under the Cross for hours to watch Him die for us.

In the Gospel of today from Luke 19, the Parable of the Ten Gold Coins, Jesus teaches:
"I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Luke 19: 26).

Faith may well be our greatest asset. What are you doing with your talents?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, November 18, 2019

How Eleazar died with dignity.


"But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner, worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age, the merited distinction of his gray hair, and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood; and so he declared that above all he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God." (2 Maccabees 6: 23).

Tuesday of the 33rd week in Ordinary Time. The 1st Reading from the 2nd Book of Maccabees tells us of how Eleazar, the 90 year old noble man died a martyr's death.

What is the great lesson for us in this Scripture? Never think or say: It is insanity to imagine that such a persecution could ever happen today. We learn that "Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner, worthy of his years." In the fight against sin and evil, you must make up your mind what to do, how to act in different compromising scenarios. If you don't, you may find yourself compromised "for the sake of a brief moment of life." (2 Maccabees 6: 25). The English Hierarchy under King Henry VIII in the 16th century were completely unprepared for persecution.  Except St John Fisher, all succumbed to the threat of the King and renounced their faith.

Why does the Holy Spirit give the Church this Scripture today? Be vigilant and pray always. O that you would listen to His voice, harden not your hearts.

"Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,
the constant gladness of being devoted to you, for it is full and lasting happiness to serve with constancy the author of all that is good. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.. " (Collect, today).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Bartimaeus wanted to see so badly.


 “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” (Luke 18: 37).

Monday of the 33rd week in Ordinary Time. Our Gospel story of today is the story of the Blind man called Bartimaeus in the Gospel of Mark.

Why is Bartimaeus a very interesting character and why is the story of his healing filled with spiritual lessons? A Pre-Advent Parish Mission two years ago at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus inspired me with interest in Bartimaeus.  The teaching on Bartimaeus on Day 1 of 4 of the Mission was keynote and made a permanent impression on me. This is why:

Bartimaeus was prepared for this moment.  Fortune favors the prepared person. What would you do if you hear that Jesus is passing by a couple of blocks from you? No one could prevent Bartimaeus from meeting Jesus. Bart has an urgent and pressing problem which he determined that only Jesus can resolve. Problems are good for everyone. 

Jesus saw the faith and enthusiasm of Bartimaeus and said to him: “What do you want me to do for you?”  The blind man replied, “Master, I want to see.” Bart was direct.  No beating about the bush.  Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way."  (Mark 10:  49 - 52).

Bartimaeus became a disciple of Jesus. St Ignatius Loyola teaches that desire transforms a man. Some social scientists have stated that we get what we desire with intensity. What do you desire most in your heart? Desire makes a man.

Ask the Holy Spirit with persistence to purify your desires and replace them with God's promises.

"Now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Philippians 4: 8).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Are you ready for your opportunity to bear witness?


"They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.  It will lead to your giving testimony." (Luke 21: 12 - 13).

Sunday of the 33rd week in Ordinary Time. Next Sunday will be the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It marks the end of the current Liturgical Year. Can you hear from the Scriptures the drumbeat that shift our gear to end times?

In brief, before the end comes, there will be a shakedown of the faith of everyone. Only those who have learned to be faithful from the daily practice of the faith will survive. Those who have put their faith on hold will run to their parents, siblings, children, neighbors and bang on the door and cry in panic: "Please give us some oil for our lamp!"

"By your perseverance you will secure your lives." (Luke 21: 19).

Do not postpone the practice of your faith. There will be no opportunity to go to the Church, get into your home to search for your Bible or Rosary.

"Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?"

O that you hear His voice today, harden not your hearts.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, November 15, 2019

Ask and keep asking and you will receive.


"Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary." (Luke 18: 1).

Saturday of the 32nd week in Ordinary Time. Jesus teaches on the vital necessity of Prayer. Commenting on this teaching from her historic experience with the saints in salvation history, the Church explains:

"Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father." St. Paul adds, "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints." For "we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing." This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer." (CCC 2742).

The teaching on Prayer is very simple to remember:
Pray always.
Pray everywhere.
Pray about everything.

ASK, SEEK and KNOCK. Jesus promises that you will receive what you ask for. You will find what you are looking for and the door you knock on persistently will be opened to you. ALL in accordance to God's gracious and mysterious Will. 

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Feast of St Albert the Great, Church Father and Scientist.

St Albert the Great. 

"Foolish by nature were all who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing the one who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan." (Wisdom 13: 1).

Friday of the 32nd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Albert the Great (1206 - 1280), Bishop, Order of Preachers (Dominican), theologian and scientist and last but not the least, Doctor of the Church. When I see a scientist who thumbs his nose at religion because he has a couple of doctorates, I ask him: "Are you more learned than St Albert the Great or St Augustine?"

Our Daily Scripture verse for today calls scientists who pretend not to know God, foolish. They investigate the heavens and the earth and discover their secrets. They never ask: How did this stuff get here? Who made them? St Paul says in Romans that such scientists suppress the truth by their wickedness. He goes on to say:

"For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them.  Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse." (Romans 1: 19 - 20).

Let us thank God the Father for the life of St Albert the Great who combined his human wisdom and divine faith to advance knowledge and science.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

ALL things serve You.


"All things serve you." (Psalm 119: 91).

Thursday of the 32nd week in Ordinary Time. Our meditation today is from the Responsorial Psalm 119.

How many famous ALL Scriptures do you know? I have three favorites:

#1. "ALL things serve You." (Psalm 119: 91).

#2. "We know that ALL things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8: 28).

#3. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of ALL comfort." (2 Corinthians 1: 3).

In the Creed, we profess our faith in the Father ALL Mighty God. It is very comforting to know that ALL things serve our Father: man, sun, moon, wind, fire, water, stars, wildlife, etc. Everything without exception. To serve means to obey God absolutely with no possibility of resistance or disobedience.

Most Christians find comfort in Romans 8: 28 which proclaims that no matter what happens, God is in control and therefore No fear. No worry. No doubt.

I like particularly 2 Corinthians 1: 3 that reminds us that none of the comforts, encouragements or consolation we enjoy in life comes from Chance. The word Chance is not in the Bible. ALL things come from the gracious ordaining of our God and Father.

"God orders ALL things for good." (Wisdom 8: 1).

"Almighty and merciful God,
graciously keep from us ALL adversity, so that, unhindered in mind and body alike, we may pursue in freedom of heart the things that are yours. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son." (Collect, today).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Feast of St Frances Xavier Cabrini, Patronness of Immigrants.


“Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?  Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”  Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17: 17 - 19).

Wednesday of the 32nd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850 - 1917), Virgin and Patroness of immigrants. Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini served well the immigrants of America in obedience to the order of Pope Leo XIII. Her anniversary is a reminder of our debt to widows, orphans and immigrants.

In two weeks, we shall be celebrating Thanksgiving. Our Gospel meditation for today is a great lesson to shape our minds and hearts for Thanksgiving 2019.

Are you postponing thanking God for anything? Health, family blessings, financial prosperity, new job or promotions, sold homes or new cars, plentiful food, peace about the future? How about the Daily Bread of the Eucharist? Do you know that the Eucharist means Thanksgiving? To him whom much is given, much will be required.

For the leper who did not postpone his Thanksgiving, Jesus said: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17: 19). Beware: what you think is now yours may not be yours until you return to give thanks. For the Lord orders:
"In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5: 18).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, November 11, 2019

The souls of the saints are in the hand of God.


"The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace." (Wisdom 3: 1-3).

Tuesday of the 32nd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Josaphat (1580 - 1623), Bishop and Martyr. Born in Poland to Orthodox parents, Josaphat became a Catholic. As Bishop, he worked for the unity of the Orthodox and the Roman Church and was martyred for his efforts.

November is the month we remember in a special way the souls of the faithful departed. An Indian guru said to the disciples on his death bed: "When you remember me, I shall be present." Exactly! Is this not what we do in the Eucharist? This is why Memorial is one of the many names of the Eucharist. How do you remember your loved ones who are on the other side of life? Because our saint of the day is a canonized saint, we remember Josaphat through the Sacred Liturgy. You can remember your loved ones through offering Mass, Rosary and prayers for them.

"Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself." (Wisdom 3: 5).

After brief chastisement, that is purification, these souls will be admitted to Paradise to enjoy eternal life with Jesus.

"Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect." (Wisdom 3: 9).

Amen!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Feast of St Martin of Tours, Veteran of Veterans.


“Increase our faith.”  The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you." (Luke 17: 5 - 6).

Monday of the 32nd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Martin of Tours (316 - 397), Bishop. Martin was a soldier in the imperial army of Rome. After he encountered Jesus Christ, he became a Christian and a man of peace. Today is also Veteran holiday in the USA, Armistice Day in other countries. November 11  served in the past as a day of memorial of signing peace treaties.  The treaty to end World War One was signed on the Feast of St Martin of Tours, November 11th. Hail Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace. Happy Veterans Day!

"Increase our faith." What is the connection between Faith and Prayer. I have two favorite quotations from two great men on faith and prayer.

#1. If you pray, you are saved. If you do not pray, you are lost. (St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church).
#2. I believe because I pray.  (Karl Rahner, SJ hailed as one of the greatest theologians.

The only thing Jesus called a vital necessity is Prayer. Not work. Not fasting. (CCC 2742). Therefore if you want your faith to grow, start praying.
Pray always. Pray everywhere. Pray about everything. And before you know it, you too will be enjoying the fruits of the faith that moves mountain.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, November 09, 2019

We believe in the Resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.


"That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;  and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Luke 20: 37 - 38).

Sunday of the 32nd week in Ordinary Time. Do you know that November is the month the Church prays especially for the poor souls in purgatory? They are poor because the purification process is not a champagne party. Moreover, many of these souls have nobody to pray for them.

Do you scoff at the idea of the Resurrection of the dead, eternal life, heaven and hell? A Protestant friend of mine asked me once: "Why do you people pray to and for dead people?" I answered him by pointing to our Scripture verse for today. God Himself says that "He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” Jesus silenced the Sadducees  through this Scripture. My friend had no answer.

We profess this faith:
"I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of the saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen."

If you believe in the Resurrection and life everlasting, live as you believe.

“In learning and professing the faith, you must accept and retain only the Church’s present tradition, confirmed as it is by the Scriptures…. Now I order you to retain this creed for your nourishment throughout life and never to accept any alternative, not even if I myself were to change and say something contrary to what I am now teaching, not even if some angel of contradiction, changed into an angel of light, tried to lead you astray. For even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which you have now received, let him be accursed in your sight.” (St Cyril of Jerusalem, Father of the Church).

If there is no Resurrection of the dead, then the Church has deceived billions of people for over 2000 years. St John Henry Newman said  that what so many people have believed for so many years cannot be wrong.

"The King of the world will raise us up to live for ever." (Cf 2 Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, November 08, 2019

The Feast and Dedication of the Mother of All the Church in the World.


"I have chosen and consecrated this house, says the Lord, for my name to be there forever. (2 Chronicles 7: 16).

Saturday of the 31st week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.
The Lateran Basilica in Rome is the Pope’s own church as the Bishop of Rome. It was dedicated in 324 AD. It is the Mother Church of all the Churches in the world and the sign of the unity of the Church built on the Apostles. All the Bishops of the world, successors of the Apostles manifest this unity through their union with the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter.

We the Faithful are the living and chosen stones that make up the edifice of our Basilica, Cathedral or our humble Parish Church. May God increase the growth of the Church.

On this day, let us also remember that each Basilica, Cathedral and Church in the world foreshadows the heavenly Jerusalem. It is in the holy Sanctuary we partake of the Sacraments.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, November 07, 2019

You have been found wanting in the management of the assets entrusted to you.

"What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward." (Luke 16: 2).

Friday of the 31st week in Ordinary Time. When the boss asks: "What is this I hear about you?" How do you react to the query?

Tell me how you have managed your time, talent and treasure, the boss queries. Like the fruitless fig tree, do you understand that you have less than one year to become fruitful? When your stewardship of time, talent and treasure is found wanting, cry out to the Holy Spirit for help. God will not tolerate a fruitless fig tree after the probation period is over.

O that you will hear His voice today, do not harden your heart.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

If one vote counts for the politician, should one helpless lost soul not count for you?

"I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15: 10).

Thursday of the 31st week in Ordinary Time. Today's Scripture verse calls our attention to the power of One. The businessman understands the power of one. One customer counts. One dollar counts. The politician understands the power of one. One vote counts. Why? It adds up. The preacher, the evangelist should understand clearly from the Parable of Jesus today that even in heaven, one sinner who is saved is a cause for celebration.

"I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Be prepared to preach or teach to whomever the Lord sends you. 100 people or just one person. Your Director, Christ the Lord has a good reason for whatever He does. He who is faithful in small things will be faithful in big things. The mustard seed is the smallest seed when planted. It grew to become a big shrub and all the birds of the forest delight in sheltering and nesting on it.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

When you understand the necessity of the Cross, you too will embrace it.

"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14: 27).

Wednesday of the 31st week in Ordinary Time. Jesus proclaims the necessity of the Cross for His followers. Imagine an interview for a job. The potential employer declares upfront that those who would be considered must be prepared to give up the right hand. People would walk away and see the situation as crass insanity.

Jesus came to inaugurate the Kingdom of God, the eternal reign of God among men. This Kingdom is unlike anything that has been seen on earth. Consider some of the characteristics of the Kingdom:

The Kingdom starts like a tiny mustard seed. The appointed king has no house, no money, no car, no servants. The king is powerless to resist arrest. He was tried and sentenced to death by crucifixion.  During the trial of the king, He told the judge: “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” (John 18: 36).

Jesus conquered evil on the Cross. Jesus Christ, King of the Jews reigned from the Cross.
"But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe". (CCC 272).

The Cross therefore became the cherished emblem of the disciples of Jesus. With this understanding, we can embrace the Cross.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, November 04, 2019

Rejoice always in hope.

"Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer." (Romans 12: 12).

Tuesday of the 31st week in Ordinary Time. Advent is round the corner.

"Be happy in your hope. Do not give up when trouble comes. Do not let anything stop you from praying." (Romans 12: 12 NLV).

Hope is confident waiting for something to happen. To hope and to wait is the same thing. Christian hope is a confident hope. Once upon a time, I prayed for a desire close to my heart. I came away from prayer with the deep impression that God was asking me to wait. I was happy and waited in hope. After a few years, nothing happened. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13: 12). My hope was beginning to slip. Then I suddenly found myself facing a great challenge. I woke early the next morning and prayed and cried about the issue. 24 hours later, God had resolved the issue. No deferred hope this time. I was very happy.

The same God who moved mountain in this problem is the God who asked me to wait. I came to see that there is a good reason why God is asking me to wait. Through the light of understanding I came to rejoice in hope. I pray and persevere in prayer. Both confident hope and steadfastness in prayer, help me endure trials as I wait on God.

Grant Father we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Once called by God always called.

"For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable." (Romans 11: 29).

Monday of the 31st week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Charles Borromeo, Bishop (1538 - 1584). St Charles Borromeo was one of the architects of the successful conclusion of the Council of Trent. A great reformer, he worked hard for the implementation of the decrees of the Council. He established seminaries and had catechisms produced.

"For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [for He does not withdraw what He has given, nor does He change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call]." (Romans 11: 29 AMP). Thank You Abba Father for this promise. I am a huge beneficiary of this mercy and I give here testimony to this truth. Father, open the hearts and minds of those who are unsure of this truth to come to the throne of Your mercy and grace with great confidence to receive abundant mercy.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Zacchaeus succumbed to the charm of Jesus.

“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” (Luke 19: 8).

Sunday of the 31st week in Ordinary Time. Zacchaeus experiences the irresistible power of the Presence of Jesus. Result: Instant and profound conversion. Many thieves and fraudsters who are caught red handed try to negotiate the terms of the settlement. Not Zacchaeus. His attitude is: Lord, I give up everything to be a part of You and Your Enterprise.

Taking a cue from the conversion of Zacchaeus, the Church teaches:
"Jesus calls to conversion. This call is an essential part of the proclamation of the kingdom: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."......... It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life." (CCC 1427).

"But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook sins for the sake of repentance." (Wisdom 11: 23).

I will praise Your name forever my King and my God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, November 01, 2019

The Feast of All Souls.

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself." (Philippians 3: 20 - 21).

Saturday of the 30th week in Ordinary Time is the Feast of the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed traditionally called the Feast of All Souls. Where are your loved ones who have departed from this life? They are no longer Australian citizens, or American or Mexican citizens. If they died in Jesus Christ, their citizens is now in heaven. Are they enjoying eternal life right away with Jesus? Possibly. Most likely, they "await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself."

This purification or transformation that most of us need is what the Church calls Purgatory. Furthermore, "All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven...... The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned." (CCC 1030 - 1031).

"Listen kindly to our prayers, O Lord,
and, as our faith in your Son, raised from the dead, is deepened,
so may our hope of resurrection for your departed servants also find new strength.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Collect of the Mass of All Souls).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Solemnity of All Saints.

“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”.... “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7: 13 - 14).

The Church worldwide celebrates today a major feast in its Liturgical Calendar: The Solemnity of All Saints. In the Communion of Saints, we celebrate the Communion of holy people and holy things. Man is the apex of creation. It is therefore fitting that a holy person glorifies God's work of creation.

"Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness." (CCC 1024). The Church declared.

Our Scripture verse today teaches that in order to be among those in white robe, you must must make that robe white again in the blood of the Lamb. Brethren, do not be afraid of this for your Father is determined to give you the Kingdom. Make this Kingdom your first priority and the holiness it requires and everything else here on earth and in heaven shall be given to you.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Don't forget to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus also on the Solemnity of All Saints.

November 1st, 2019 - First Friday in November: Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 11th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #11.

#11.  "Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced."

Friday, November 1st , 2019 is  the Solemnity of All Saints, a major feast in the Church Calendar. The Church remembers all the souls of the just who are in heaven with Jesus. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, who is true and faithful Witness promises us that "Those who propagate the devotion to His Sacred Heart shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced."

Do you trust the promises of Jesus or do you not?

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

FOR BLOG ON ALL SAINTS, HEAD HERE: Seekfirstcommunity.com


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

When God is with you, you accomplish important things.

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8: 31).

Thursday of the 30th week in Ordinary Time is the 31st of October.

Brethren, make our Scripture for today personal: "If God is for me, who can be against me?" If you do not know the powerful punch of this Scripture, it may be because you do not fully know who God is! "The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." (Daniel 11: 32 NKJV).

If God is for you in your job, who can be against you? When God is with you in your family, health, finances, possessions your objectives and heart's desire will be accomplished. What if you do not know your God or His plan for your life? You will be like a heir to a great estate and fortune who sleeps under the bridge as a homeless because he is ignorant of the fact that less than a kilometer from him is his father's estate.

Those who minister to the dying report that in the last few days of life, their greatest regret is not having invested time to know God.
Now that you know, you will be blessed if you do it.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

God can write straight with crooked lines.

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified." (Romans 8: 28 - 30).

Wednesday of the 30th week in the Ordinary Time. Brethren, what does Scripture mean by "All things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose?"

Our daily Scripture verse for today contains one of this most significant word: "ALL." Define simply, ALL here means No exceptions, No discriminations, No exemptions. It means the Whole, Todo, Tuus.

We have supreme confidence in Divine Providence based on this significant revelation in Romans 8: 28. God promises: "No matter whatever happens, you are covered. I am able to write straight lines with crooked lines. Where you are now is exactly where I want you to be. I AM GOD."

Come back to this Scripture again and again to nourish your soul. As you do, your insight into what it means for you expands more and more.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, October 28, 2019

Do not despise small beginnings

“What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.’” (Luke 13: 18 - 19).

Tuesday of the 30th week in Ordinary Time. What is the significance of comparing the Kingdom of God with a mustard seed?

The mustard seed is a very tiny seed and therefore liable to be lost without regret, thrown away without remorse. Jesus gives us the best analogy of the the humble beginning of the Church in the Parable of the Mustard Seed.

After a night of prayer to His Father, Jesus chose, called and anointed 12 Apostles to go and announce the Kingdom of God. Imagine that you were there in the crowd on the day that Jesus appointed Peter, Simon and Jude and others as Apostles. Could you believe that 2000 short years after, this tiny mustard seed will be a family of some 3.5 billion people spreading out branches throughout the earth?

The Kingdom of God is a mystery. The life inside the tiny mustard seed is a mystery. The tiny spermatozoon is packed with a DNA which is a mystery.

Do not despise the small beginning. Do not thrash the Church and its mysteries because you do not understand them. The mystery of faith calls for only one thing: Belief. When you believe, you stand the chance that you can understand. Believe always comes first.

"Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the Kingdom to mere children." (Matthew 11: 25).

Accept the Kingdom of God like a little child.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Feast of Saints Simon and Jude.

"Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles." (Luke 6: 12 - 13).

Monday of the 30th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles. These two are among the Twelve called by Jesus in the Gospel of today. Jesus did not choose people from the upper class, nor from the middle class. He did not select scientists or doctors of the law or people from the merchant class. He intentionally chose simple fishermen, uneducated, untraveled and men without influence in the society.

Those Jesus chose, He trained and qualified. He instructed them:
"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19 - 28).

Jesus built His worldwide Church on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets. Each year, we celebrate the glory of Saints Simon and Jude and the other Apostles. We do not celebrate the glory of Caesar or King Henry VIII or Napoleon.

The message of the Apostles still go out throughout the world.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, October 26, 2019

God justified David who committed adultery, cover up and murder.

"The tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ (Luke 18: 13).

Sunday of the 30th week in Ordinary Time. "O God, be merciful to me a sinner." The attitude and prayer of the Tax Collector becomes our example of the type of prayer that justifies and the prayer that is heard by God. Here is what the Church teaches on the Prayer of Humility:

"The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that "we receive from him whatever we ask." Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer." (CCC 2631).

"Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions, " (Psalm 51: 3) cried King David after his sins of adultery, cover up and murder. His prayer was heard by God and David went home justified. The Lord hears the cry of the poor and the humble.

Because of the great mercy of God, God gave the Church Baptism as the great Sacrament of Reconciliation and Regeneration. Baptism wipes out our sins and the record of our sins. Does Baptism remove concupiscence, our ingrained tendency to certain sins? It does not. What then happens to sins that are committed after Baptism? Jesus Christ gave the Church the Sacrament of Reconciliation to deal with this crisis of sin.

Those who are humble like the Tax Collector are justified by this Sacrament and enjoy the mercy and peace of God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, October 25, 2019

Starve the wolf to death.

"For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8: 2).

Saturday of the 29th week in Ordinary Time. Are you groaning from the compulsion to sin? Do you feel a secret hostility towards God? Or consider Christianity or the gentle yoke of Christ oppressive?

If your answer is Yes to any of the above questions, then you are clearly still under the yoke. You still live according to the flesh where your concerns are eating, drinking, dressing up and having a good time. By your daily choices, you reject the spirit of life and peace.

You ask: "Brother, what must I do?"
"Repent! Stop feeding the wolf. Allow it to starve to death."

Invite the Spirit of Jesus into your heart and experience the new life that is your birth right. With the Holy Spirit fully in control, you can embrace God's gracious and mysterious will in your life.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com